Ottawa’s STACS DNA rolling out newborn specimen-tracking tech across Ontario

newborn
Stock photo for representational purposes only. (In case that wasn't clear.)

An Ottawa firm’s software will soon keep track of medical samples from newborns across Ontario hospitals, providing technical features that could represent life-changing efficiencies.

Newborn Screening Ontario, based at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, will implement specimen-tracking software from STACS DNA, a local firm that counts some of North America’s largest DNA labs among its customers.

STACS DNA’s software tracks specimens throughout the testing process as samples travel from hospital to lab and back again. Track-Kit, as it’s called, can help medical professionals to flag lost samples, track specimen locations in real-time and achieve relevant diagnoses before a baby is discharged from the hospital.

The Ottawa company has been working with NSO for the past three years on this application, which is purported to reduce delays in newborn specimen shipping that could prevent a child’s serious health condition from worsening later in life.

“This saves our team hours tracking down specimens or requesting recollections, to ensure that babies are screened and diagnosed as quickly as possible,” said Jennifer Milburn, operations director with NSO, in a statement.

STACS DNA’s Track-Kit solution was also deployed in the United States earlier this year to track sexual assault kits in transit. In fact, the Ottawa firm got its start in law enforcement in the 1990s when the RCMP approached IT services firm Anjura Technology for software to support its DNA bank. The resultant commercial software was later spun off into STACS DNA.

Track-Kit is expected to be rolled out to hospitals and midwives across the province by the end of the year. In a statement, the firm says it plans to address these gaps in newborn screening across North America and has added channel resale partners to integrate Track-Kit into larger hospitals’ infrastructure.